Key role of wooden pallets recognised by governments

4 May 2020

EPAL UK & Ireland says government statements during the Covid-19 crisis have given important recognition of the key role of wooden pallets and packaging in supply chains of essential goods.

Following the closure of ‘non-essential’ business in the UK and Ireland, the industry in both countries had sought clarification from authorities that it was included in the definition of a key service, because pallets and packaging are vital for delivering supplies of food, drink and pharmaceutical goods to retailers.

Meanwhile, the European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL), the umbrella association governing EPAL’s different country organisations, has endorsed statements made by the European Federation of Wooden Pallet & Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB), that the pallet industry should be given similar status throughout Europe.

The wooden packaging industry has already been classed ‘essential’ by government in Italy, the United Kingdom and in Belgium.

In Germany, where there is a federal system, the industry has been declared ‘essential’ in four states to date. EPAL is supporting the German Association for Wooden Packaging, Pallets and Export Packing (Bundesverband Holzpackmittel, Paletten, Exportverpackung – HPE e.V.), which is pushing for a fast, standard solution.

In other countries, including France, the Netherlands and Spain, no official declaration has been made; however, most of the wooden packaging industry in these locations has been operating – with additional measures for safe working in place - to keep essential supply chains moving during the lockdown period.

EPAL is pressing for this essential status to be granted to producers and repairers of EPAL load carriers beyond crisis, to safeguard the essential flow of goods.

Stuart Hex, acting national secretary, EPAL UK & Ireland, said the Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) did significant lobbying, calling on the UK and Ireland governments to recognise the manufacture of new pallets and the inspection, repair and reconditioning of used pallets an essential service. Without the pallets, Mr Hex added, critical supply fast moving consumer goods and pharmaceutical supply chains would “simply fail.”